Saturday, February 19, 2011

Personalized Applique Bath Towel or Beach Towel

My daughter was invited to a birthday party for a friend of hers this weekend – a little boy.

She wanted to get him a present that she knew he would love and something that was unique and “special just for him”

Something that he would love – no problem – he LOVES Thomas the Train so she picked out a train for him.

Something unique and “special just for him” was a little tougher to find so I turned to my sewing machine and made a personalized bath towel. I made several of these towels last year for my daughter and some of her other friends. I figured out how to do them based on trial and error. There were quite a few errors before I got it right!!

These personalized towels are great to take to the beach, swimming lessons and on holidays. You always know which towel is yours at a glance.

This is an especially great gift for those people with unique names.

Depending on your choice of towel and fabric these can also be a very economical gift. They do take time but supplies are not very costly and should be easy to find. Make your fabric choices based on the person the towel is for, OR use it as a stash buster project and use up what you have on hand. The small amount of fabric needed makes it pretty easy to do both.

My daughter picked out the fabric for each of the letters in this example and kept me company while I sewed it. She was very excited to give her friend a special, personalized gift and she said that he was very excited to receive something with his name on it.

Here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make a personalized appliqué bath towel.

1 bath towel (We used a large bath sheet but you can use whatever size you want)
HeatnBond iron on adhesive
Assorted cotton fabric scraps for letters 
             (You can experiment with different types of fabric if you want, BUT cotton washes really well)
Scissors, pins, iron, marking pen & thread

Decide what size and type of letters you want – I photocopied some from an old craft book I had at home. You can draw some freehand or find a template on the internet to use.It is easier to sew larger block style letters than small, swirly ones!

Cut pieces of fabric slightly larger than the size of the letters you want to use. I cut my pieces in squares.

Follow the instructions on the HeatnBond to attach the fabric pieces to it.

Basically, arrange the fabric pieces, right side up on the HeatnBond. Run your iron over them to activate the adhesive on one side. 

Once the pieces are all secured to the HeatnBond – trace your letters onto the fabric and cut them out.

Lay the towel out and find the middle. Mark it with a pin so you know where it is. 

This name had 6 letters. I positioned the letters 4” from the top of the towel, with 3 letters on each side of the centre line. I put these letters all in a straight line but you can space yours out any way you want. Make them wavy, diagonal, curved, whichever way you want.

Once you have the spacing figured out, peel the back off the letters. Recheck your spacing to make sure that it is just the way you want it.

Iron the letters to the towel. Make sure that they stick well so that it will be easier for you to sew. If you don't secure them well here they will move when you begin sewing around them.

Once all the letters are ironed down your towel should look something like this.

The next step is to stitch around each letter to seal the raw edges and make the letters stand out a bit. 

It is best to go slowly to make sure that the stitches are even and neat.

This is the time consuming part, especially if the name is a longer one. 

I use a basic zigzag stitch with a stitch length of 2.5, and stitch spacing of 1.0. On my machine it makes a very nice satin stitch. I recommend you try a few test runs to get the setting right BEFORE you start stitching on the towel. 

Stitch slowly around each letter, covering up all the exposed edges.  

Once all the letters are stitched around, clip any loose threads and VOILA!!!

Here is the finished towel.